Blog: Taste of Sunnyside 2015
In a spacious outdoor nook situated underneath the 7 train on Queens Boulevard, an enthusiastic and sold out crowd converged together on Tuesday evening to celebrate 2015′s “Taste of Sunnyside.” The weather was perfect, the guests were excited, and the restaurants were ready to give us their best samples that showcases just how eclectic and diverse the neighborhood can be. Whether it was the existing community pride or the liveliness of the event itself, upon our arrival- the atmosphere was festive and spirits seemed especially high amongst our fellow attendees.
Set underneath an erected tent, the setting was spacious with tables lining each side and a trail of white Christmas lights leading guests toward a center stage. A handful of picnic tables were also setup for attendees to take in some of the night’s warm breezes while plunking down with a plate of different food samples. As we began to make our way around the tent, we caught a glimpse of something familiar and delicious in our periphery- and with that, we made a beeline toward Dumplings & Things where we were rewarded with tender “Pork Dumplings in Hot Oil” as well as a “Pork and Napa Cabbage” variety. Exploding with a mix of salty and savory, the two-bite serving was piping hot and played as a perfect precursor for some of the other exciting dishes to follow.
There was such a preponderance of meaty dishes being offered, it was challenging to decide on a direction. We gorged ourselves on the always consistent “BBQ Atomic Wings” from 43 Bar and Grill, an excellent cut of “Salmon” from Bliss 46 Bistro, an array of empanadas from I Love Paraguay, and a memorable mixture of fiery “Chicken Curry” and “Penne a la Vodka” courtesy of Bliss Street Station. Fortunately, with all of the delicious fare being handed out to a hungry crowd, there were plenty of reasons to pause for some drinks. Lowery Wines & Liquors was a particularly popular stop as they offered up a sweet and refreshing “Sangria,” and the corresponding recipe to re-create it at home. We also grabbed a few brews from the Queens Brewery, where they offered their signature “Queens Lager,” a nice everyday beer that particularly went down smooth amid the evening’s warm weather.
Throughout the night, the very festive atmosphere was kept alive with performances by Danza Espana and the Underground Horns and later, The Sunnyside Social Club who turned the tasteful eating affair into an all out party. With their charismatic stage presence, this 5 piece band inspired many to dance and sing along as the musicians would venture out into the crowd to continue playing right among their rapidly growing audience. Amid the music in the background, we continued to grab dishes from the seemingly endless array of restaurants around us. Delectable plates like Salt and Fat’s “Smoked Salmon Chicharron,” the newly opened Punta Tibetan Restaurant’s “Vegetable” and “Tofu Dumplings,” Venturo Osteria’s mouthwatering “Lentil, Ramp and Stracchino Fritter” and an outstanding “Lobster BLT” from Murphy’s Lobster Grill forced us to pass on some of White Castle’s iconic hamburgers- but candidly, it wasn’t an easy table to walk away from.
Though there came a point in the evening where we would ask for smaller portions in order to allow us to experience more, we couldn’t resist in accepting the generous heaps of Peruvian fare from Los Pollos Restaurant. Our packed plate of “Causa Con Pollo,” “Arroz Verde,” “Pollo A La Brasa” and “Papa A La Huancaina” was unique and incredibly tasty although it forced us to waive the white flag on eating any further. Because of so many participating restaurants at the 2015 “Taste of Sunnyside,” we sadly realized that tasting every single item would be impossible. Fortunately we made the right choice in ending our voluminous meal with a “Colombian-style Hot Dog” from Los Verdes. Juicy and decadently salty, the rich dog was the perfect choice, topped with a running quail egg for good measure.
Needless to say, we walked (slowly mind you) away from the event entirely satisfied. Even from a distance we continued to feel the party atmosphere even as it was winding down. Many spectators stopped to listen to the music and admire the crowd and food from afar, and the event certainly took center stage in the neighborhood on Tuesday. While we were told repeatedly that we were going to find our new favorite restaurant during the course of the evening, what we actually discovered was one of our new favorite neighborhoods in New York City.
- Jackie Benavides